Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Laundry Detergent: Ever Made Your Own?

In continuing with our cleaning/organizing week, I thought I'd share something a learned a couple months ago--how to make your own laundry detergent. Make your own laundry detergent? Did that just scare some of you? It kind of intimidated me a little fact, I still haven't made it! But yesterday I went to Walmart to buy some cleaning supplies and I just spent too darn much money! And I realized where the bulk of it went to...laundry detergent. That stuff is expensive! So here's the recipe:

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (or any TRUE bar soap, like Ivory. Not a "cleansing bar" like Dove)

1 cup Borax (20 Mule Team)

1 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer brand, but NOT "baking soda-washing soda is a completely different substance)

1. Grate soap (It will be fine and powdery)
2. Place soap and 2 cups water in saucepan on stove, simmer until soap melted and sixture is clear.
3. Pour 4 gallons HOT water into a 5 gallon bucket, add soap mixture along with rest of ingredients and stir.
4. A thick gel will form at the top, keep stirring periodically until gelled evenly.

Recipe may be halved. Use about 1/4 cup for each laundry load. This detergent will last FOREVER.

Ok, so this sort of intimidated me, and I even watched the process. Then I found out something awesome. If you are OK with powder laundry detergent, you can skip all of the boiling, and you won't need a 5 gallon bucket or anything! Just grate the soap, add the washing soda and borax, and put it all in a blender until it's totally powder. Now you only have store a couple of cups of powder instead of a huge bucket, and it's so concentrated you only need about a tablespoon in each laundry load.

To buy the Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha (which you shoudl be able to get at any grocery store) will cost you around $10 dollars, but the Borax and Washing Soda can be used for multiple batches, the only thing  you will need to buy more of is the Fels Naptha which is the least expensive thing! This is seriously such a money saver and after yesterday, I've decided to try it myself!


  1. My mother in law just made some and gave me a bottle. It does work well. The scent is alright too, more of a detergent cleaning smell than anything. I have heard of people adding in different things to make is smell fruity or like a clean cotton scent. I don't know what was used though. Do you know how to create different scents?

  2. Never mind! I Googled adding fragrance to homemade soap and found a lot of good ideas. Now I just need to find where to buy essential oils!

  3. My mother-in-law makes one as well but you have to shake the container before each use (its liquid), do you know if you have to do that with this one?? I really love the idea of the powder. Thanks for this recipe! oh and I also add a scoop of oxyclean versatile stain remover to the load if more of a stain fighting agent is needed.

  4. oh sorry this is Starli - I cant remember my gmail password so I used mikes :)